Slovenian minister: Internal EU borders must connect, not divide nations

Slovenian Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik: "National borders within the EU are connecting lines not dividing lines between nations." [EPA-EFE/MARTIAL TREZZINI]

Slovenian Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik has told a conference hosted by his ministry that borders within the EU should unite, not divide nations.

“Cross-border cooperation as part of the European territorial cooperation is an element of the common European cohesion policy that supports balanced development of the entire EU. National borders within the EU are connecting lines not dividing lines between nations,” he said.

At the conference on Thursday, Slovenian and foreign experts discussed best practices for setting up smart cities and villages, and exchanged experience of cross border cooperation and participation of municipalities in European associations for territorial cooperation, according to the ministry.

“Local authorities are often overlooked but indispensable for providing quality services to people. That is why the Slovenian EU presidency has decided to host a special conference to pay tribute to their efforts,” Koritnik said.

Participants agreed that the use of advanced technologies could help solve developmental, economical, social and political challenges. But this is only possible if communities embrace digital solutions and know how to use them.

Thus, cities and local communities initiate digital transformation of the entire society. But the key to success is having all stakeholders, including the people, included in the forming of solutions from the beginning, they concluded.

The ministry published a call for applications this year for demonstrative projects of smart cities and communities. A total of 14 applications arrived worth €14 million. Almost 159 municipalities or 75% of all are included in the projects, the ministry said.

Slovenia also signed today a declaration on joining forces in encouraging sustainable digital transformation of cities and communities in the EU to create an inclusive and digital Europe.

This was the first in a series of events that the Public Administration Ministry will host as part of Slovenia’s EU presidency.

[Edited by Josie Le Blond]

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